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CFP: “Ruling Visions: Citizens, Subjects, Sovereigns” Midwest Victorian Studies Association Conference 2023 (12/1/22)

Portrait of Queen Victoria by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1859.

Ruling Visions: Citizens, Subjects, Sovereigns
Midwest Victorian Studies Association 2023 Conference
March 24-26, 2023
Washburn University, Topeka, KS

Until 2015, Queen Victoria was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. The recent passing of Elizabeth II, whose reign outlasted her great-great-grandmother Victoria’s by close to a decade, has ignited public conversations about the costs and value of the monarchy, many of which are framed through attention to the spoils and legacies of Victoria’s empire. MVSA invites papers, or proposals for complete panels or roundtables, for our upcoming annual conference, which will explore queens as idea and in practice, whether focused exclusively on Victorian Britain or framing that period through more presentist lenses. What were the motivating visions that shaped the rule of Queen Victoria or other global sovereigns in the period? How did citizens view their sovereigns? How did monarchs become colonial subjects? We particularly welcome capacious interpretations of the theme, considering imperial visions and anti-imperial strategies; nineteenth-century literary, musical, or visual representations of actual, figurative, or imaginative queens; subjects either dutiful or resistant; ways a monarch’s rule filtered into popular culture; or even the conceptions of norms in the natural sciences. Papers might take up issues including, but not limited to:

  • Relationships between citizens and sovereigns
  • Domestic and colonial challenges to monarchic power
  • Political cartoons, photographs, paintings, or other visual representations of sovereigns
  • Visiting/traveling monarchs
  • Relationships between sovereign powers, political or personal
  • Queen bees: analogues in the natural world
  • The Queen in political theory
  • Nineteenth-century visions of specific queens
  • Metaphors of queenliness
  • The Queen’s vision of herself
  • Sovereignty and spectacle
  • Assassination attempts and other attacks on monarchs
  • Middle-class "queens" in the domestic world
  • Biographical explorations of Victoria
  • Gender and sovereignty 
  • Ceremonies: coronations, weddings, jubilees, durbars, or other public appearances
  • Arthuriana, fairy tales, or queens in children’s literature
  • Victorian historiography of earlier monarchs
  • Commemorative music and command performances
  • Postcolonial critiques of Victoria
  • Commerce and the Queen: the marketplace and memorabilia
  • Undisciplined/undisciplining citizens/sovereigns

To apply: Please submit an abstract (~350 words) and brief CV. To propose a panel or roundtable, submit a brief panel/roundtable description, paper abstracts, and brief CVs for all participants. Please apply by December 1, 2022 through this google form (https://forms.gle/F2GCD6RCB3pRg74m6). The Program Committee aims to send acceptances by the end of the calendar year. The conference will take place March 24-26, 2023, at Washburn University in Topeka, KS.

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